What's your favorite urban umbrella?
April 1, 2005 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I despise compact umbrellas because they never keep me dry. I also despise those large golf umbrellas people tote around NY, hogging up 3x more sidewalk space than they deserve. I'm willing to invest a bit in a decent umbrella as an incentive not to use it. What's your favorite umbrella, in the range of "better than a standard Totes compact, not as outrageous as a handmade british one"?
posted by mkultra to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Umbrellas are tricky. I live in London but hardly ever use one. I either don't mind getting wet or then I just end up losing them. That said, I think I've lost as many umbrellas on the tube or buses that I've found. It sort of evens out. Anyway, the cheap ones always break down. The expensive ones are too big and you cry if you mislay them. I say go naked.
posted by keijo at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2005

having experienced all the same problems you have with umbrellas (even the big golf ones do no good against rain that blows sideways as nearly always happens in the spring in chicago), i have done as keijo suggests. i have several nice raincoats and a couple good rainhats (being a girl, i suppose that means i look less ridiculous in a rainhat) and i carry a nice trash bag in my shoulder bag for tucking around it in the rain. it's easier to move through the crowds and i don't get in anyone's way. when i get where i'm going, i'm no less dry than the people with umbrellas.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:13 AM on April 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

My umbrella

I'm also annoyed by people on sidewalks with 62" golf umbrellas - save those for the courses. 40" works out nicely for me as it's slightly larger than the totes but smaller than the golf monstrosities.
posted by junesix at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2005

I used to just buy the $3 ones that are for sale on every street corner in NY and think of them as disposable. That way, when you lose or break one, it's not such a big deal.
posted by willpie at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2005

Brooks Brothers has a good, wood-shaft umbrella for around $40. After losing a couple of expensive British ones, I switched to a BB and have been very happy.
posted by KRS at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2005

Oh, I'd forgotten about junesix's umbrella. I do love those.
posted by willpie at 10:31 AM on April 1, 2005

I guess there is a wider issue - and sorry if this goes a lot sideways from your question, but I guess I've just always tried to alter my behaviour as much as possible when it really pours. Have you ever tried walking down Oxford Street in the rain? Even small umbrellas cause a health hazard and some of the people who carry them make a peaceful guy like me want to pull out a nonexistent gun (this is England).

I love walking, but when it rains, I rush to the bus stop or the underground - if it doesn't, I'll walk all the way. I just try to minimise the umbrellas. As much as I hate the people walking towards me with them, I hate having one myself. But I agree with willpie, if I _have_ to, then it's the cheap one and I just throw it away.
posted by keijo at 10:57 AM on April 1, 2005

I have a clear bubble umbrella which I completely love. It isn't bulky, I can see through it, and it reminds me of being 6 years old.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2005

You know what they say about umbrellas...you can never own one, you can only rent it.

I rather enjoy the rain, and I mostly want it off my head and out of my face. So, my Tilley hat is perfect. I highly recommend it.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:13 AM on April 1, 2005

One problem with a rain jacket: all the rain runs off and runs down your legs in streams. In heavy rainfall, you pretty much need rain pants, which are obviously inconvenient.
posted by zsazsa at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2005

In NYC, when it rains, umbrella sellers sprout on every corner. I usually just buy a big $8 "golf" umbrella and give it to someone else when I get where I'm going. (If it makes it home with me, I'll crimp the little metal aglets onto the end of the ribs with Vise-Grips and it actually becomes a pretty good umbrella - not sure why they don't attach them better!)
posted by nicwolff at 11:59 AM on April 1, 2005

I once bought a $20 umbrella at a supermarket. It was large (40+ inches), had a comfy straight grip, and it had wind vents - the fabric on it was like an outer ring with an overlapping inner center held down by elastic threads to the central rod, such that when the wind tried to turn it inside out, the vents just opened instead. The stems were plastic instead of metal, kept under under flexed tension by the fabric so the fabric was always tight and the joints wouldn't get loose or wear out.

I lost it a couple of years back, was unable to recover it, and have yet to find one like it. Next winter, the same supermarket was selling selling similar umbrellas but without the vents. So I'm not sure where to find them, (anyone know?) but I highly recommend the combination of plastic stems and wind vents.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:18 PM on April 1, 2005

You may find this earlier AskMe thread to be useful.

I own this one, and have been very satisfied with it until last Wednesday, when a 40+mph gust at the corner of 58th & 8th bent the tube so I couldn't fully retract it. Took it back to Brookstone and exchanged it for another one with no problems whatsover.
posted by Vidiot at 6:50 PM on April 1, 2005

No Tilley hats! No Tilley Unendurables! We have our limits.

Seattle Sombreros only, please. Then again, if everyone takes my advice I won't have a signature hat anymore.
posted by joeclark at 6:40 AM on April 2, 2005

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